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Diabetes Watch Blog: Diabetics With Mental Illness Receive Sub-optimal Care

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Dec 15, 2005

Diabetics With Mental Illness Receive Sub-optimal Care

Diabetics With Mental Illness Receive Sub-optimal Care
As per findings from a large study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, diabetics with mental illnesses are less likely to receive optimum diabetes care. Up to 30 percent of the US population is thought to have some type of mental illness.

"From a public health perspective, the aggregate effect of mental health conditions on medical care could prove to be quite substantial," Dr. Susan M. Frayne of the Veterans Administration Health Services Research and Development Centers of Excellence in Bedford, Massachusetts, told Reuters Health.

The investigation was not aimed at addressing the issue why such disparities in care might occur, however observations showed that this sub-optimal care may be the result of various factors including difficulty adhering to medication, or provider factors such as the nature of the interaction between providers and patients, or health care system factors such as difficulty with integration of mental and medical health services.

Frayne and her colleagues looked at data for 313,586 VA patients with diabetes, 25 percent of whom had some type of mental health condition.

Patients with a mental health condition were 24 percent more likely not to have had hemoglobin A1c testing, 24 percent more likely not to have had their low-density cholesterol tested, and 5 percent more likely not to have had an eye exam, the researchers found. Those with mental health conditions were also 32 percent more likely to have poor control over blood sugar levels.

The effect was more pronounced for psychosis, mania, substance use and personality disorders than for anxiety and depression, the researchers found. And the more mental health conditions a person had, the less likely he was to be receiving optimum care.


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Diabetes Watch Blog: Diabetics With Mental Illness Receive Sub-optimal Care

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